Speak Up exists to develop transformative lifelong skills in homeless people while giving them a voice, income and dignity.
One Magazine at a Time — A Voice
Homeless people write their stories, experiences, hopes. Their work becomes articles that are printed as issues of Speak Up Magazine.
(If you are facing homelessness, you can write. Learn how.)
One Sale at a Time — Real Income
The published magazine are sold on the streets and in public places by people facing homelessness. Copies sell for $5 each. Each seller (“vendor”) keeps all the cash from their magazine sales. They spend the money on the basics of life–food, shelter, transportation. After the first 20 free magazines, vendors purchase more copies from Speak Up for just $1.
One Person at a Time — Lasting Dignity
Through Speak Up, people facing homelessness develop their voice and earn immediate income by their own hands. They grow in resilience, develop marketable new communication skills and come to see themselves as worthwhile contributors to society.
Over 500 individuals facing homelessness have partnered with Speak Up as writers and vendors.
The first issue of Speak Up was published in 2011 in Charlotte, NC, by Matt and Lana Shaw. Over 80 issues have been published.
Speak Up is a member of the Glasgow-based International Network of Street Papers, which provides guidance for similar initiatives around the globe. In 2015 and 2018, Speak Up won the INSP award for “Best Vendor Contribution,” given annually celebrate the published contributions of homeless writers.
Speak Up Magazine is a 501(c)3 Public Charity.
“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.” (Proverbs 31:8-9)
- The human soul has immeasurable value.
- Developing individuals is of the highest priority.
- Dignity is a right for all persons.
- A meaningful life of purpose can lived by everyone.
- A better way can probably be found. Purposeful change and innovation are welcome.
Matt Shaw, Executive Director / Editor
Lana Shaw, Co-founder
Peggi Knowe, editing & admin
Harry Griffin, homeless writer’s workshop
Board of Directors
Phil Felten, Association Management Solutions
Lisa Koons, Charlotte 24-7 Prayer Room
Bill Shaw, Urban Opportunities for Change Foundation
Cesar Silva, All Nations Coffee
Cal Queener, Treasurer
Lindsay DaCosta, Secretary
Charlotte Agenda (12/22/15) Has Charlotte Made Progress in Ending Homelessness?
WFAE NPR (12/16/14) Speak Up Magazine: Giving a Voice to Charlotte’s Homeless
Creative Loafing Charlotte (3/27/13)
Speak Up Magazine Gets Another Chance
Charlotte Observer: State of the Art Blog (8/29/12):
Charlotte’s coolest new magazine
Charlotte Magazine (11/01/11):
The People’s Publication
FOX News Charlotte (10/08/11):
Charlotte’s First Street Magazine Headed to a Corner Near You
CLT Blog (10/07/11):
Word on the Street: Charlotte’s First Street Mag, Speak Up
Red White and Green Photography Blog (8/23/11):
Permission to Peruse (8/22/11):
Crossroads Charlotte (7/18/11):
New street paper wants to ‘Speak Up’ for Charlotte’s homeless
Charlotte Observer (7/10/11):
Street Mag Will Give Homeless a Voice